Sukiya panel tells ‘gyudon’ chain to end one-man graveyard shifts, overtime abuse


The Sukiya beef-bowl chain should eliminate its exploitative practice of having only one employee run the graveyard shift, a third-party panel said Thursday, noting that its staff routinely log more than 100 hours of overtime each month.

The panel of lawyers, set up in April, made the recommendation in a report submitted to the management of Zensho Holdings Co., the parent of the “gyudon” chain’s operator, Zensho Co.

The panel also found that logging over 100 hours of overtime per month is routine for Sukiya employees. The report thus urged Sukiya to introduce a rule completely banning long working hours — even at the expense of closing some outlets, it said.

Earlier this year, Sukiya had to shut 200 restaurants due to lack of staff and 53 still remain closed. It also suspended midnight operations at 339 outlets as the nation’s “gyudon war” rages to its bloody conclusion.

At a news conference, Zensho Holdings Chief Executive Officer Kentaro Ogawa said the company will “take necessary corrective measures as soon as possible.”

The panel also said Ogawa and other top Zensho Holdings executives have failed to recognize the importance of corporate governance. The parent company should take steps, including ordering Zensho to appoint two or more outside directors, to increase oversight of the unit, it said.

The panel has been studying the work environment at the Sukiya chain since May.